Love When This Happens

1 Grove Lane, asked $3,445,000, got $3,290,000.

1 Grove Lane, asked $3,445,000, got $3,290,000.

This is a fairly common scenario most listing brokers can identify with: You put a property on the market “priced to sell”, yet along comes a buyer who low-balls anyway.

Being a diligent broker, you naturally then provide the buyer’s broker with copies of all the recent  comparable sales from which your thoughtfully calculated asking price was derived. But the buyers, maybe even their broker, say nope, you’re off by hundreds of thousands. They re-visit the house, bring their builder, their architect, their father-in-law, everyone agrees, it’s overpriced. They even quote Chris Fountain! Finally, they raise their bid a small amount, but that’s it, “take it or leave it, you’d be a fool not to take this offer”.

You and your sellers say no, and they go away. Days go by, maybe a month, more showings occur, but no offers. A hint of doubt starts to build inside you. You begin to wonder if maybe those damn low-ballers were right! Could it be? But you’ve got the comps! Your price is justified, dammit!

Then, salvation. A new buyer comes along. They love the house, they get it. Their opening bid is higher than the last folk’s “highest and best”. As you’re negotiating, still another buyer shows up, and they get it, too. So you make the deal easily, maybe no bidding war, but the existence of a competing bid adds the useful urgency that keeps deals moving along.

All that happened at 1 Grove Lane, and it happened at loads of other properties in this year’s weather-delayed Spring market. So what’s the moral of the story? Do you hold out for that “right buyer”? I’d say yes, if you’re really confident of your asking price, and you’ve had, say, 10 or fewer showings. But 20 showings? 30? And nothing but low offers or worse, no offers? Then the above scenario is not going to happen. Lower the [gosh-darned] price!

 

Patterson Avenue: The Sell-Off Continues

Ever since our dryer broke, Susie's been hanging laundry on the front yard of our Patterson Ave home, could this be the problem?

Ever since our dryer broke, Susie’s been hanging laundry on the front yard of our Patterson Ave home, could this be the problem?

Just kidding, of course, still it’s odd when seven properties become available in a short period of time. Most have sold quickly, including 107 Patterson, just a few doors away from chez Fountain. They asked $4,750,000 and had a deal a few moments later (well, it was pretty soon), so that makes everyone on the street feel darned good!

Patterson Avenue sales

 

Another Secret Riverside Deal?

177 Riverside Avenue, rumored to be sold to a builder. True, not true, we'll find out soon.

177 Riverside Avenue, rumored to be sold to a builder. True, not true, we’ll find out soon.

This is pure rumor, but I’ve now heard it from multiple sources, so maybe it’s actually true; the former “Hatch” property at 177 Riverside Avenue has been sold, apparently to a builder. How much? I’d guess around $3.6M * for this 1.71 acres in the R-20 zone.

It comes with a vintage 1804 house, but, with a lot-size more than 3 1/2 times the required minimum size, that house will soon be placed into a (considerably younger) dumpster. Broker involvement also rumored…

Here’s what the tax card reveals about 177 Riverside Avenue (all publicly available information):

CRS Data Property Report for 177 Riverside Ave, Riverside, CT 06878-2212-2

* Let’s hope they got more than my guess, because I’ve deliberately estimated low…

 

Ole’s Boat Yard Has A Deal?

"Ole's Boat Yard", 340 Riverside Avenue, one of the last remaining semi-public waterfront access points, is to be converted to a private residence.

“Ole’s Boat Yard”, 340 Riverside Avenue, one of the last remaining semi-public waterfront access points, is to be converted to a private residence (.32 acres). Started at $2.650M way back in 2009, last ask was $1.4M.  Selling for…$1.2M? $1.3M?

A friend told me he’s signed a contract to buy the sliver of waterfront (creek front) property known as “Ole’s Boat Yard” at 350 Riverside Avenue. The good news is the buyer is known for skillful renovations, so it could have been worse, but what really irks me is the sale represents another addition to the long list of screw-ups and missed opportunities by the Town of Greenwich.

Remember the infamous tearing down of New York City’s Penn Station? Greenwich had its own version of that when Town government aided and abetted the destruction of the beautiful Pickwick Arms Hotel majestically sited at the top of Greenwich Avenue where the (completely boring and unremarkable) Pickwick Plaza office complex presently sits.

It was the 1970’s, the economy was rotten, and the Pickwick Arms owners, in an attempt to survive, proposed to transform some of their larger suites into luxury condominiums, an idea considerably ahead of its time (the famous Plaza Hotel ended up doing the same thing 30 years later). The geniuses who then sat on the Town Planning & Zoning Committee turned down the idea. Having no other recourse, the owners sold the place to developers and we lost a great landmark. Nice job, P&Z!

“Ole’s Boat Yard” is no Pickwick Arms, but it represents, in a small way, a piece of Greenwich’s past. Guess who stood in the way of anyone trying to maintain it as a boat yard? The Town of Greenwich and (of course) Connecticut’s reckless Department of Environmental Protection, who, among other things, prohibited floating docks on the site lest they impact the precious mud. As a Town, as a State, we have truly lost our minds.

Here’s the listing from Tedesco Real Estate.

PS. Speaking of lost opportunities, the lot next door to this place used to belong to the Town. Boatyard owner Eric Amundsen, son of Ole, started parking boats there and after around 20 years claimed adverse possession and sold the land! Now, instead of a small waterfront park, residents are treated to the sight of a six foot-high stone wall and a builder colonial. Thanks, Town of Greenwich! Another job well done!

There Are No “Direct Deals”

42 Gilliam Lane was shopped to builders who ultimately were not convinced it was a double lot.

42 Gilliam Lane, it turns out, was shopped to various builders who ultimately were not convinced it was a double lot.

Difficult to see, but the lot is apparently sort of J-shaped. That notch made it impossible to meet proper set-back requirements.

Difficult to see, but the lot is apparently sort of J-shaped. That notch made it impossible to meet the proper set-back requirement for a second lot.

&%#@! When will I learn this? I’ve now received numerous reports about the deal at 42 Gilliam Lane indicating it was anything but a “direct” deal. Apparently the seller shopped it to every builder in town. Despite it’s over-sized square footage, the case could not be made for there being two building lots.

Broker Jeff Jackson apparently got paid a commission on this deal, and his end-user buyer intends to build just one house. All good for broker Jackson and his client, but I still think the seller would have done better with full exposure on the MLS.

Secret Riverside Deals

42 Gilliam Lane. When I was a kid, this was American Brands chairman, Robert Heiman's house. Now destined for the srcap heap.

42 Gilliam Lane, $3.760M. When I was a kid, this was our next door neighbor,  American Brands chairman, Robert Heiman’s house. Now destined for the scrap heap.

74 Club Road has just closed at $6,575,000.

74 Club Road has just closed at $6,575,000.

95 Club Road, reportedly fetching $6.75M+. This was the Steiger's house when I was a wee lad...

95 Club Road, reportedly fetching $6.75M+. This was the Steiger’s house when I was a wee lad…

I don’t mind direct deals as long as the seller’s getting a really good price. Here’s my breakdown on these sales:

(Keep in mind, these are all “land sales”, since it’s highly unlikely any of the existing buildings will be saved.)

42 Gilliam Lane: $3,760,000, 1.42 acres in the R-20 zone. This appears to be a true direct deal with no broker involvement, bought by a nearby Riverside neighbor. Its 1.42 acre size (part of which was purchased from the Fountain family in the 1980’s) makes it about 3.09 times the size of the legally required minimum lot size, so by my estimation, the property is worth around $4,500,000. The seller avoided a $188,000 commission, that’s good! But he left $552,000 on the table, that’s bad. Interestingly, the previous owner did pretty much the same thing, back in the 1990’s.

74 Club Road: $6,565,000, 2.2 acres in the R-1 zone. This one was also bought by a (very persistent) nearby neighbor, who began writing letters to the owners around six years ago. That diligence paid off, but the sellers were wise enough to bring in a bunch of brokers for selling price advice, so they didn’t get hosed badly. Could it have fetched more on the MLS? In light of recent sales, I would say yes, substantially more, but they did ok.

95 Club Road: $6,750,000 (reportedly), .97 acres in the R-1 zone, waterfront, almost entirely in the flood-zone. This “direct” deal actually had multiple bids, and there was plenty of broker involvement, but as far as I’ve learned, the buyers were to pay any broker’s commission. If that’s true, I’m especially impressed with these sellers because, at this price,there was no money left on the table.